Can I appeal a final financial order after my divorce?
We always recommend that divorcing couples obtain a final financial order, to make the agreed financial settlement legally binding. Yet while these orders are usually 'set in stone', a court may consider an appeal in the most exceptional circumstances, as we explain here.
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Can I appeal against a final financial order after divorce?
Upon , we almost always advise couples to obtain a final financial order. This is a legally binding agreement showing how the couple's . Where possible, it is preferable that this enables the couple to have a clean break, so that each spouse can move forward to live an independent life.
Importantly, once a final financial order has been approved by a judge within the divorce proceedings, it is very difficult to challenge or appeal that order. In fact, judges will only consider appeals in exceptional circumstances, such as
when there is a very significant change in the couple's circumstances very soon after the financial order has been made.
An example of appealing a final financial order following divorce
Whilst sitting at the High Court, Mr Justice Holman was asked to consider an application by a husband to appeal a final financial order that had been made as part of his divorce proceedings. The final financial order was made to the effect that his wife would receive 70% of the money from the sale of the family home, as she was the main carer of the couple's children, with the husband receiving only 30%.
The very significant change in circumstances
Approximately six weeks after the final financial order was made the wife was found to have committed a criminal offence. Worse still, the offence concerned an incident that occurred between the mother and the couple's then 13-year-old daughter. As a result of this incident, the children began living with their father rather than their mother.
Mr Justice Holman decided that, due to the change in the couple's circumstances, whereby the children were now living with their father as opposed to their mother - and within six weeks of the final Financial Order having been made - the husband was entitled to appeal against the final Financial Order. Mr Justice Holman further expressed the view that the husband's application to appeal had a realistic prospect of success.
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It goes without saying this is a highly exceptional and unfortunate case. However, it does illustrate the fact that while final financial orders following divorce are usually binding, a precedent exists to allow a challenge or appeal if there are sound reasons for doing so.
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